Frederic Sanchez, Show Music Maestro
The Insiders is a column written by Kin Woo, presenting integral, but often hidden figures within the fashion industry
— July 8, 2014 —
Columns on fashion, culture and ideas
Frederic Sanchez, Show Music Maestro – Insiders | AnOther
Frederic Sanchez Photography by François Coquerel
Insiders talks to the man behind the fashion week soundtrack, producer Frederic Sanchez.
In the two decades plus he’s spent as oneof the most respected illustrateur sonoreworking today, Frédéric Sanchez has doneeverything from staging a Margiela show intotal silence, remixing a Louise Bourgeoissong for Helmut Lang to providing anunbearably poignant version of SomewhereOver The Rainbow for Marc Jacobs’A/W10 show. But his long termcollaborator Miuccia Prada threw him acurveball for her A/W14 shows –challenging him to work with livemusicians. Says Sanchez, “Our firstconversation was about the idea ofperformance and Pina Bausch has alwaysbeen a very strong inspiration for her. Thenwe talked about the 1970s being a momentwhen avant-garde was strong probablybecause the young generation of that erawas in reaction with what happened duringthe second world war. But all this was justthoughts, conversations, work in progress –because at the end, what you could reallyfeel was a take on women very close to theheroines of Rainer Werner Fassbinder.” Sowhile the woodwind concert groupL’Usignolo performed live renditions ofKurt Weill’s music, contrasted with thepounding metal of Rammstein for the men’sshow; at the women’s show (aptly titled‘Act II’), German actress (fromFassbinder’s ‘Lola) Barbara Sukowa sang amedley of Weill songs over a string quartet.It was a suitably cinematic flourish for adesigner who’s never shied away from herfilmic influences: the women stalking therunway becoming noirish and mysteriousfemme fatales straight out of a Fassbinderfilm.
« When you work in fashionyou have to be very openminded and you need to lookat everything. It has nofrontier » — Frédéric SanchezFor Sanchez, it exemplified everything heloves best about his job: “telling storieswith sound and music, taking an audienceon a sonic journey.” From a childhoodobsessed with the high concept prog rock ofKing Crimson and David Bowie, the late80s when he started working was anespecially fertile time for cross-pollination –Michael Clark would commission Bodymapto design costumes for a dance recital andPeter Saville would team up with YohjiYamamoto in between designing for FactoryRecords. “My interest in fashion appearedthrough music, » he explains. « For me whenyou work in fashion you have to be veryopen minded and you need to look ateverything. It has no frontier.” His firstforay in the field was when a chancemeeting with Martin Margiela led toscoring his very first show in 1988. “Wejust hit it off,” he recalls. “At that time wewere both very influenced by experimentalcinema, noisy pop and the Arte Poveramovement. So for this first show I decidedto tell a very sharp and precise story.”Complimenting Margiela’s offbeat approachto making clothes, Sanchez would makesound collages using reel to reel tape, “Forme it was an anti-DJ way of making asoundtrack and this became my owntrademark.
”Since then, he’s cultivated long-runningcollaborations with fashion’s biggest hittersfrom Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Givenchy,Helmut Lang and Prada and even extendedhis repertoire outside the realm of fashion –to exhibiting in galleries and devisinginstallations for the likes of the GrandPalais, Musée du Louvre and Herzog & DeMeuron’s Prada store in Aoyama, Tokyo.As different as each designer’s aestheticmight seem, each season always starts witha conversation: “My starting point is alwaysthe story that the designer tells me. I like tobe at the heart of the creation. I like themto tell me their stories and inspirations,” hesays. “I look at the mood boards rather thanthe clothes.” While Sanchez is the masterof a minimal, poetic soundtrack – “almostlike a perfume, something so subliminalthat the audience might not have noticedbut they would remember the next day ornext month” – he’s not averse to, saypremiering Britney Spears’ ‘Work Bitch’ atPrada’s S/S14 show, synching with Prada’stheme of female empowerment. “I find mywork most interesting when a designer letsme enter in his own world. It is never easyfor a creative person to let his ownemotions being translated by someone else.Trust and respect only happen through thetime. What I like about music is that it is away to communicate. It has somethingabstract that everyone can understand.People can then create their own images.”
Text by Kin Woo
Kin Woo writes for Dazed & Confused,
AnOther, AnOthermag.com and is a
contributing editor for Dazed Digital. He
has produced films for international artists
Phoenix, Patrick Wolf and Lissie Trullie.